Best Mattress for Side Sleepers
What Mattress is Right for Side Sleepers?
Many side sleepers take comfort from hearing that this is the sleeping position that is most widely recommended by experts. While this is true, this doesn’t guarantee that side sleepers will get a great night’s sleep. Side sleeping can offer a number of benefits, but it requires a well-selected mattress to achieve those benefits.
In this guide, we simplify the mattress shopping process for side sleepers. For people who want to cut to the chase, you can click here to go directly to our top 5 choices for the best mattresses for side sleepers. And for people who want to know more details, we’ve also included extensive background about what types of mattresses are available and about the most important issues for side sleepers to think through when shopping for a new mattress.
Types of Mattresses
What are foam mattresses?
These are mattresses built entirely using foam products, though often there is a mix of different types of foam. These foams are organized into layers in order to give the mattress a specific feel and performance. Memory foam is one of the most well-known types of foam, and it is commonly-used in the comfort layers of these mattresses. It is valued for its conforming properties, meaning that it responds to pressure in a way that hugs the body. Another type of foam is polyurethane foam (polyfoam), which can be manufactured to have various characteristics. Some of these mattresses may also have a layer of latex foam included as well. A common formula for a foam mattress is a base layer of polyfoam with one or more layers of memory foam or softer polyfoam on top of it as a comfort layer.
Are foam mattresses good for side sleepers?
Yes, at least most of the time. A strength of most foam mattresses is their responsiveness, which can help side sleepers get the pressure point relief that they need to keep their body aligned. Given the wide variety of foam mattresses on the market, side sleepers can normally find a foam mattress that meets their needs with regard to support, comfort, and price.
What are latex mattresses?
A latex mattress — also known as all-latex or true-latex — is made completely of latex rubber. Sometimes this latex is one large slab, and in other cases it is divided up into thinner layers of latex. The latex that is used can be naturally derived, synthetic, or a blend of the two.
In most cases, latex tends to be a bouncier material than most foams. This is because latex quickly recovers its original shape after weight is removed from it. However, at the same time, latex is still very responsive and able to cushion the body well.
Latex can usually be classified as either Talalay or Dunlop latex based on the way it is produced. Talalay latex tends to have more bounce than Dunlop latex, and some mattresses may feature both types.
Are latex mattresses good for side sleepers?
Yes, at least most of the time. For most side sleepers, latex offers enough responsiveness to make sure that the key pressure points in the body get adequate support. Latex can also be especially good for side sleepers who turn over often in the night as the bounce from this material can help to prevent feeling stuck in the bed. Even though latex offers less contouring than memory foam, some side sleepers prefer this as it reduces the chances of sleeping hot. However, for side sleepers with very pronounced pressure points, latex may offer less cushioning than memory foam.
What are innerspring mattresses?
Innerspring mattresses are the most traditional type of mattress and the kind that most customers are familiar with. They use an array of metal coils aligned within the mattress to provide support and bounce. There are numerous types of coils, but the kind that you will most often see in mattresses sold online are pocketed coils. This design allows each set of coils to operate more independently of the others, making the mattress more responsive to where the sleeper puts his or her weight.
Most innerspring mattresses have a thin layer of foam or fiber-fill above the coils in order to offer more cushioning. If this layer is more than 3” thick, we classify the mattress as a “hybrid” rather than an innerspring. The choice of material for this comfort layer can dramatically affect the performance of an innerspring mattress.
Are innerspring mattresses good for side sleepers?
No, at least not most of the time. Though it depends on the specific design and construction of the innerspring mattress, most of these do not offer enough responsiveness and contouring for side sleepers. The exaggerated pressure points of side sleepers — notably at the shoulders and hips — require more conforming than is usually found with innerspring mattresses. The exception is for innerspring mattresses with designs that make them more responsive though the use of additional comfort layers above the coils.
What are hybrid mattresses?
Like innersprings, hybrids have a support core that is made of metal coils. What differentiates a hybrid, though, is that the layers above the coils are 3” or more. Typically, these are foam layers with some combination of memory foam, polyfoam, and/or latex. Hybrid mattresses attempt to obtain the strong foundation of an innerspring mattress while also providing a high degree of contouring and responsiveness.
Are hybrid mattresses good for side sleepers?
Yes, often they are, but it will depend on the design and build of the comfort layer. If the top layers are designed to provide significant responsiveness, then the hybrid is likely to be a good fit for a side sleeper. If the innerspring support core uses pocketed coils, it can also help to enhance responsiveness while maintaining resilience and the bounce more commonly associated with an innerspring mattress.
What are airbeds?
Airbeds utilize an air chamber as their fundamental system for providing support. This air chamber is able to be inflated or deflated using an attached control or in most cases a smartphone application. This adjustability allows the sleeper to make changes to the feel of the bed on the fly, and for most larger-sized airbeds, each half of the bed has its own air chamber. This permits two people on the same bed to have a very different feel with regard to firmness. Some airbeds also have foam or fiber-fill above the air chamber to offer more plushness or support.
Are airbeds good for side sleepers?
No, at least not most of the time. While airbeds are often appreciated for how much control they give the sleeper in terms of firmness, these beds usually fall short for side sleepers when it comes to responsiveness. Unless the airbed has a significant additional comfort layer with a responsive material, most side sleepers won’t get enough cushion at the shoulder and hips when sleeping on an airbed. If they attempt to make the mattress less firm to get more cushion, it will likely cause the spine to become misaligned in other places (such as the low back).
Top Picks: Best Mattresses for Side Sleepers
There is a tremendous diversity of mattresses on the market today. In addition to all the models sold in department stores and dedicated mattress stores, there are also dozens of mattresses available online. If you’re like most customers, you find the process of sorting through all these options to be tedious, and for that reason, we’ve done the heavy lifting to bring you our list of the top 5 best mattresses for side sleepers.
|BRAND||MODEL||TYPE OF MATTRESS||FIRMNESS/FEEL||PRICE|
|Novosbed||Foam||Soft / Medium / Firm||$1,299 (Queen)|
|Loom & Leaf||Foam||Relaxed Firm / Firm||$1,099 (Queen)|
|Pure Green||Latex||Soft / Medium / Firm|| $899 – $1,199
|Saatva||Innerspring||Plush Soft / Luxury Firm / Firm|| $999
While the table gives you a quick overview of the top choices, you can keep reading in this section to learn more about each of these mattress models and why they made the cut.
Leesa is one of the best-known brands of direct-to-consumer mattresses with thousands of mattresses sold and a consistent track record of strong reviews. The Leesa mattress is all-foam with a polyfoam base topped with a layer of memory foam as well as the company’s Avena foam, which is a latex-like foam that provides more bounce than traditional memory foam.
The combination of memory foam and the Avena foam gives the Leesa a feel that is at the same time contouring and resilient. The mattress is medium-firm, which fits the preference for most people, and at less than $1000 for a Queen mattress, is within the budget for most customers.
The Leesa meets the key characteristics of a quality mattress for side sleepers, and the company has a bevy of satisfied customers to vouch for its comfort and support.
Novosbed, a Canadian mattress maker, gives customers three firmness choices for this memory foam mattress — Soft, Medium, and Firm. Most side sleepers will prefer the Medium option, but customers can choose something firmer or softer if that is their comfort preference. Each of the models uses high-density, high-quality memory foam arranged with a thick comfort layer, and this can be essential to making sure that there is enough cushioning for the major pressure points of side sleepers.
For people who sleep on their side, a memory foam mattress like this one can bring responsiveness and durability at a very reasonable price tag. While Novosbed’s sleep trial has some complicated terms and conditions, you still have the option of getting a full refund, which protects you against winding up with a mattress that you don’t like.
For side sleepers who want a mattress that is built with quality materials and offers a high degree of responsiveness, the Novosbed is a top-notch choice.
Sleep on Latex Pure Green Mattress
An all-latex mattress like the Sleep on Latex Pure Green mattress brings a lot to the table for side sleepers. It is offered in different firmness choices (Soft, Medium, Firm) and heights (7” and 9”), giving more options to choose from. Because it uses large pieces of high-end latex, it is more likely to last for many years even with nightly use. With the responsiveness of this material, it gives the cushioning needed to keep the spine and pelvis aligned while also maintaining a resilience that acts against sinking too deeply into the mattress or feeling stuck in the mattress.
This mattress has received high marks for customer satisfaction, and Sleep on Latex has a solid reputation for its support to customers. While other latex mattresses can break the bank, this can be purchased for right around $1000, making it a top choice and a best buy for this mattress type.
While innerspring mattresses are not usually the best fit for side sleepers, the Saatva mattress is not your everyday innerspring. It has a 7” bottom layer of coils with another, smaller layer of foam-encased coils above it. The coil-on-coil design gives extra responsiveness and bounce that is supplemented by foam and a pillowtop cover, the thickness of which depends on which of three models — Luxury Firm, Firm, and Plush Soft — that the customer chooses. The softer top layers provide both more comfort and more support, and this quality design is borne out by a track record of excellent customer reviews.
Despite the intricate construction of this mattress, it’s available for under $1000 for a Queen, and this cost comes with free white-glove delivery, which includes setup of the mattress in your home. All of these factors make it a great option for side sleepers, especially those who enjoy the springiness of a traditional innerspring mattress.
Nest Bedding Alexander Signature Hybrid
The Alexander Signature hybrid mattress from Nest Bedding layers several types of foam and a quilted pillowtop above a 7” layer of pocketed innerspring coils. Offered in both Medium and Luxury Firm comfort options, the main comfort layer of this mattress is 2” of copper-infused memory foam. Additional support is added with a foam-stuffed quilted cover as well as a transition foam between the memory foam and the innerspring coils.
For side sleepers, this layering creates a sleeping surface that is at the same time supportive and inviting. It has much less bounce than a latex mattress, but the innerspring coils help to protect against feeling swallowed by the bed. The assorted foams can eliminate pressure points, and at a cost of $1,199, it remains accessible to a wide variety of customers. For all of these reasons, this hybrid is one of our top picks for the best mattresses for side sleepers.
Finding the Best Mattress for a Stomach Sleeper
About Side Sleeping
Though surveys of sleeping positions are not precise, estimates are that nearly 50% of people sleep on their side. There can be variations of side sleeping based on how someone positions their arms and whether they bend their legs, but overall, this position is considered to be the best for orienting the body in a position that counteracts potentially-harmful misalignment. Side sleeping also can mitigate against chronic snoring, which is more prevalent in people who sleep on their back, as it does not put as much pressure on the airway at the back of the throat.
Even though it is the most recommended position by sleep experts, side sleeping still has downsides. First, it can put enhanced pressure on the side of the face, which over time contributes to facial wrinkles. In addition, while it helps to keep the pelvis and spine on the same plane, it also creates pressure points at the neck, shoulder, and hips. For this reason, mattress selection is of critical importance for side sleepers.
What Matters For Side Sleepers When Choosing a Mattress
Choosing a mattress can involve consideration of a long list of things in order to find the best fit. While we’ve taken these factors into account in suggesting our top 5 best mattresses for side sleepers, we also want to empower you with this knowledge so that you can confidently evaluate your options. They key items for side sleepers to think through when evaluating mattresses include:
- Responsiveness: as we’ve mentioned numerous times, side sleepers need a mattress that can properly cushion their pressure points, which tend to require much more contouring than other parts of the body. For this reason, mattresses with conforming comfort layers are best able to offer the support that is needed for people who sleep in this position.
- Firmness: there is no such thing as “universal comfort.” Comfort is subjective, and although most people find a medium-firm mattress to be the most comfortable, there are certainly side sleepers who will have a more restful night’s sleep on a firmer or softer mattress. Each side sleeper should consider — based on their personal experience — the firmness level that is most likely to create a welcoming and inviting bed for them. Firmness is usually rated on a scale of 1-10 with 1 being the softest and 10 being the firmest.
- Bounce: bounce is another term for resilience, and it is determined by how fast a mattress surface retakes its primary shape once there is no longer weight being applied to it. A mattress that quickly retakes it shape has a bouncier or springier feel, and many side sleepers find this to be desirable, especially if they move around often in their sleep. Resilience in a mattress can also reduce over-sinking into the mattress, which can cause heat retention and sleeping hot.
- Durability: no one wants to buy a product and have it give out prematurely, especially if it’s a product that costs hundreds if not thousands of dollars. In addition, durability is important for making sure that a mattress continues to offer the contouring and support that side sleepers need. In order to choose a durable mattress, look for products made with quality materials and from companies with a track record in the industry and a history of excellent reviews.
- Motion Isolation: some side sleepers regularly move from one side to the other during the night, and if a mattress does not have enough motion isolation, this can be disruptive to a partner who is sharing the bed. Thankfully, most mattresses that offer the contouring that side sleepers need also usually score well when it comes to motion isolation.
- Overall Price: the total price of the mattress includes the cost of the mattress itself as well as any shipping or other fees. Thankfully, most mattresses bought online come with free shipping. But when starting shopping, it’s vital to think about what your budget is and then to look to get the best value for your dollar.
- Sleep Trial: one of the best ways to make sure that you wind up with a mattress that you love and that works for you as a side sleeper is to make sure that any mattress that you buy comes with an extended sleep trial. This lets you setup and use the mattress in your own bedroom, usually for 100 nights or more, with the option to return it for a free refund if you are not satisfied. We strongly recommend that side sleepers opt for a mattress with this type of no-hassle sleep trial to provide peace of mind that you won’t be stuck with a mattress that doesn’t give you the kind of comfort or pressure point relief that you need.
- Warranty: though hopefully you’ll never need to use it, a quality warranty that isn’t overly restrictive is a nice bonus to have just in case something does go wrong and you happen to wind up with a defective mattress.
- Pillow(s): remember that support isn’t just about the mattress. Your pillow works alongside your mattress to keep your neck and spine aligned. Side sleepers should choose a pillow carefully for their head and neck, and many side sleepers also use additional support pillows for other parts of the body (such as full-length body pillows or a pillow between the knees).